Do you love to freelance but dread that you won't get paid for the time you spend on client projects? Or maybe you love the idea of self-employment but aren't sure how to get your first clients? Or perhaps you want to know how to get paid as a freelancer? Whatever your reasons, getting paid as a freelancer can be a challenge. In this contributed/collaborative post, we've compiled a guide with tips and tricks on getting paid as a freelancer.
Know The Law
Freelancing is a new and growing field. This means that the laws governing it are in their infancy and have yet to be defined by the courts. In the U.K., many court cases have tried to clarify the rules governing freelancing, and in the U.S. in states like California, but they are still somewhat unclear. However, knowing how to go about chasing payments from clients if they haven’t or don't pay up will work in your favor and help you to reduce your losses in the long term.
Ask For Full or Partial Payment Upfront
Freelancers must be paid on time. Period. Your clients want to make sure they pay you on time, so it's essential to make sure they know how and when. This doesn't mean you have to accept all upfront payments, but it's so much easier than having to chase payments later.
In some cases, you might not want to ask for full payment from a client. Perhaps you don't want to take on a client if you think it will be a long-term project and enjoy extra freedom to pursue other clients. Or maybe you want to take on a few small projects before you decide to go full-time. Also, sometimes clients may ask for payment plans. If that's the case, add in a little extra for the inconvenience and just in case they don't pay the next payment on time.
Use A Payment App
Freelancing is often associated with paper-based invoicing and paying clients, but that doesn't have to be true. Thankfully, several apps, like Zenefits, enable freelancers to invoice clients and collect payments digitally. Zenefits works best as a "dashboard" that allows you to track your projects and clients, create invoices and estimates, and get paid from the app. Zenefits offers a free plan with limited functionality, but paid plans range from $19 to $500 per month.
Offer More Than One Way To Pay
Freelancers often struggle to get paid because they only offer their clients one way of payment. If you provide more than one way of payment, you're also more likely to get paid. However, know precisely what fees you are likely to pay via different payment methods, if any, or what your client can expect to pay to avoid any confusion. you should know the difference between ACH and EFT payments if you accept both options.
Follow Up On Invoices
You should always follow up after a client has been sent an invoice. This might seem like common sense, but it comes up more often than you think. It's easy to get distracted and forget about invoicing clients or collecting payments, but not following up is a huge mistake. Not only are you not getting paid, but delays may be harmful to the relationship. They may not have the cash flow a month or two later to pay you, furthering the delay in payment, which may make you resent the work you did for them. Plus, we're all busy, so a reminder is always good!